The Lot 8 contract for the F-35 program awarded Friday includes 14 jets for international partners. They include two F-35As each for Israel, Italy, and Norway; four F-35As for Japan and four F-35Bs for Britain. The contract also provides “manufacturing support equipment as well as ancillary mission equipment,” the program office reported. Israel has a stated need for 75 F-35s, but has recently signaled that number may climb above 100, although it may buy them in smaller lots than planned. Lockheed Martin will start delivering on Lot 8 in early spring of 2016, the program office reported, and once the lot is complete, “more than 200 F-35s will be in operation by eight nations,” it said in a statement. To date, the F-35 program has delivered 115 F-35s, and more than 3,200 of the fighters are planned to be built by the US, eight development partner nations, and, so far, three Foreign Military Sales customers.
As the U.S. continues to pursue a diplomatic resolution with Russia over its troop buildup on the Ukraine border, the Defense Department is looking into what capabilities it will need to reassure NATO allies if Russia does launch an invasion, its top spokesperson said Jan. 21.